Phone lines to hairdressing salons have been red hot since the Government announced they could reopen on July 6. The scramble to fit everyone in while also having to limit the number of clients on their premises has been among the biggest challenges facing salon owners.
After 15 weeks of closure, businesses have been working hard to put new government guidelines in place to keep staff and customers safe.
A fall in the number of clients will hit some salons hard and owners say that price rises have been inevitable to ensure the survival of their salons due to the lockdown.
We got a look inside some of our leading salons to see what clients can expect when the doors reopen on Monday morning.
Keris Weir of the Keris Weir Salon in Co Armagh has had to deal with her online booking system and Facebook messenger crashing as people scramble to get an appointment.
The award-winning stylist and Belfast Telegraph Weekend magazine columnist, whose family hairdressing business in Lurgan has been going for 45 years, is now booked up until September and has still hundreds of calls to return.
Keris has a large salon and has been able to create two zones to keep clients separated. She doesn't expect to have any more than two clients and two members of staff (including her) in the salon at any one time.
It is a massive change from normal times when she would have been working on the hair of three clients at once.
The costs involved in cutting back on client numbers has meant limiting her menu choices to cuts, colours and extensions only and raising prices by 20%.
It was a tough decision which she says was necessary for her salon's survival: "The new way of working is all about contamination control and volume control," she explains.
"We have opted to use disposal gowns and disposable towels as well as provide our clients with masks. The salon will look different but we are lucky because we have a large floor space. However, we have had to take away four of our dress-out stations and that has left us with four.
"We have also taken the middle of three sinks out of operation.
"Prices have gone up because of the time we now have to devote to one on one styling and the extra costs of PPE.
"Usually I would be jumping between three clients at any one time and now I will only be able to do one.
"That is going to have a huge impact on the business and some salons already have said they can't survive. It has been a difficult decision for me to put prices up but if I want to be profitable I have no choice."
A cut which would have cost £35 before lockdown will now be £45 and Keris's signature balayage colouring, which started at £85 before the pandemic will now cost £105.
She adds: "I am not doing blow-dries or dry cuts anymore because it just simply isn't financially feasible and I know that has caused some upset but I had to make a big decision to keep the business going.
"The salon will be very different but I hope people will still enjoy the full salon experience."
Escapades Hair Salon has been operating in the village of Moira in Co Down for 23 years, run by business partners Simone Stronach, from Newry, and Jennifer Neill, from Warringstown.
The women have a staff of 10 and, to be able to open next week, they have had to take over a second unit at The Village Centre in Moira. The vacant unit which is downstairs from their salon will be used for people waiting for colours to process, freeing up more space to keep the main salon working.
Simone says it has been a life-saver: "Our landlord is allowing us to take over the unit. It used to be a Barnardo's charity shop which closed during lockdown and it will be free of charge.
"I really do think his generosity has saved our business.
"Even with the social distancing rules relaxed to one metre it is still a challenge in salons and we won't be able to have as many clients as we used to have.
"The extra unit will be used for people to wait in while colours are taking and we are also putting chairs outside the shop."
Simone and Jennifer have been able to take away some of their work stations so that those in use will all be one metre apart, reducing the salon's usual 15 seats to 12. Perspex screens will keep basins safe and staff will be wearing both facemasks and face shields. The salon will also be asking customers to wear masks.
There will be no refreshments or magazines in keeping with guidelines.
Simone says: "We have to sanitise each work station after a client leaves which will give staff a break from wearing PPE.
"We hope things will not feel too much different for clients."
Pricing has been a challenge for the salon as they predict plunging profits due to the reduction in clients each day.
Simone explains: "We have spoken to the bank manager and our accountant and with being closed for so long we will be lucky to break even in the first month even though we are booked out.
"It is not even the cost of PPE but more the reduction in numbers that means there is not as much money coming in to cover overheads.
"We have always prided ourselves on keeping our prices realistic and we haven't decided on what the new prices will be but we will have no choice but to make small increases."
While the salon is booked out for the next four weeks, Simone is realistically taking a long term view on the future.
She adds: "Everybody is dying to get to the hairdressers now but after three months at home doing their own hair we think there will be an impact further down the line.
"There will be people who have decided to embrace their grey and others who don't feel the need to go to their salon as often so we don't know what the future holds."
High end Belfast salon Andrew Mulvenna in Victoria Street is well- known for its quality service and highly trained stylists. A Northern Ireland Hairdresser of the Year award winner and Cosmo Top 10 in the UK salon, Andrew and his team of 30 are looking forward to opening their doors on Monday.
With a state-of-the-art salon spread over three floors he has been able to retain the two metre rule to give clients extra reassurance.
A new maitre d' will greet clients and quickly whisk them to the floor they need to be on to meet their stylist.
Andrew says: "It is only last week that we got clear and correct guidelines for our sector so it has been all systems go to get ready for opening next Monday.
"We have hand sanitisers at the front door and floor markings showing a one way system and social distancing signs.
"We will have a Perspex screen at reception but we are very lucky as a business that we have such a large space over three floors which means we can run it like three separate salons.
"We will have half the amount of available seating which will be cut from 48 stations to 24 and there will be no need for screening as we have decided to stick to the two metre rule."
Staff will be wearing masks and visors and customers will also be asked to bring their own masks and wear them during their treatment. You can bring your coat but you must bring a bag to put it in as it cannot be hung up with other coats.
Blow dries will not be on the menu for the first month as the salon prioritises cuts and colours.
Prices will rise as the salon's income takes a hit from the drastically reduced numbers of clients. A gent's hair cut will rise from £36 to £39 while ladies will go up from £50 to £55.
Colouring will only be charged according to how much product a client requires to cover their re-growth.
Andrew adds: "People think hair salons are raising prices for the sake of it and that's not the case.
"All salons are facing reduced revenue and increased expenditure.
"Hairdressing is not a high flyer occupation and we have to work very hard get the revenues in.
"Every salon will have to do it and those who don't must not understand their cash flow and will probably find that they will have to put prices up in six to eight weeks time."
Joanna McCartney runs Hairdressing by Joanna McCartney in Newry. The city boasts over 70 salons, so news that doors were reopening was a cause for great celebration.
Joanna, who has been running her salon for 26 years, had already put many of the safety measures in place on the last week of trading before lockdown due to fears over coronavirus.
She laments that her open-door policy will now change as she has to work by an appointment-only system.
She says: "Newry is a place where we have a lot of well-kept ladies and it is known as the 'Queen of the Blow-dries' as many of our clients would get blow- dries twice a week.
"When it was announced we could reopen the response was overwhelming and I will never forget that first phone call to book an appointment as it was so joyous. People were squealing with joy when they got their appointments. We are all really buzzing to get back."
While hairdressing salons over the border opened a week earlier it hasn't stopped Joanna's loyal clientele from holding on until she is able to reopen.
Her salon is spacious which will allow her to maintain a two metre social distancing rule. Instead of the usual eight clients having their hair done at any one time, capacity will be halved to four. Her staff of five will also be in full PPE and clients will be asked to wear masks. Full sanitising of 15 minutes will add to appointment times, pushing prices up slightly.
Joanna adds: "We always got a lot of drop-ins which we won't be able to do now which is regrettable for me as I always had an open door policy but will now have to keep the door closed.
"It is appointment only by social media and we are booked out until August.
"We will be working longer days and on Mondays, which was usually a day off, so that we can fit everyone in.
"With half the normal number of clients our revenues will be down and we didn't want to put prices up too but we've had no choice. A cut will go up from £40 to £45 and a colour from £35 to £37.
"Being closed for 15 weeks has been tough on business. We are still all shipwrecked and we need to get sailing again."